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Social media claims misrepresent election software CEO’s arrest


Quick setting

The CEO of a company that maintained the data of Los Angeles County poll workers has been arrested in connection with an “investigation into the possible theft of personal identifying information” from these poll workers, according to the district attorney. Los Angeles County, George Gascón. Conspiracy theorists and election deniers claimed the arrest is evidence of voter fraud, even though Gascón said “the alleged conduct had no impact on the tabulation of the votes and did not alter the results. elections”.


Whole story

Social media platforms have flooded user feeds with allegations that have undermined the integrity of US elections since 2020.

Now, about a month before the midterm elections, conspiracy theorists and election fraud peddlers are claiming that the arrest of the CEO of an election software company is proof that their many debunked claims were true.

A worker transports ballots at a Los Angeles County Registrar Processing Center on Nov. 5, 2020. Photo by Keith Birmingham via Getty Images.

Conservative commentator Charlie Kirk, for example, claimed the arrest was evidence of “another confirmed election integrity ‘conspiracy theory'”. His video making this claim has been viewed more than 23,000 times on Facebook.

And Peggy Hubbard, who lost her June bid for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in Illinois, posted a screenshot of the arrest of conservative activist Jack Posobiec’s Twitter account on Facebook and added this message: “Tell me again, that there is not any falsification of our elections. I’ll wait…” Hubbard has 349,000 followers on Facebook.

But the arrest of Eugene Yu, CEO of Michigan-based Konnech, proves nothing about voter fraud.

He is accused of “embezzlement of public funds” from Los Angeles County, where his company had a contract to provide election worker management software. The prosecutor handling the case — Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón — also made it clear in a press release that the charges did not involve election tampering.

We will state the facts as we know them at this point:

Eugene Yu, 64, incorporated a company called LJ Connection in Michigan in 2001. The following year, after adopting a new image for the company, he incorporated Konnech.

According to the company’s website, Konnech provides election logistics software and support to 32 customers in North America.

In October 2019, it entered into a one-year contract with Los Angeles County for the use of its PollChief software, which manages poll worker information and staffing needs at polling stations.

A year later, just before the presidential election, Los Angeles County extended that contract for five years.

Now, two years after the election, that company and its work in Los Angeles is under scrutiny.

A conservative organization called True the Vote – which is best known for its contribution to the widely discredited election conspiracy theory video called ‘2,000 mules’ – held a conference in August at which organizers denigrated the integrity US elections and made sales pitches for various products. and services that they believed could resolve the questionable issues they had identified.

A major claim that came out of the conference was that Konnech maintains servers in China that the Chinese government can access.

Gregg Phillips – who works with True the Vote director Catherine Engelbrecht – claimed in a video later that month that he accessed those servers with his “guys” in a hotel room in Dallas in a ” like James Bond” in January 2021.

“We took it straight,” he said, saying he had seen “the database” containing information on election officials and that the company had also done “a quick count of the ballots. voting… in China”.

Konnech has denied the claim that it has servers in China and filed a defamation lawsuit in September against True the Vote.

Then, on October 4, Yu was arrested, and Gascón issued a press release stating that the arrest was “part of an investigation into the possible theft of personally identifying information” for Los Angeles election officials.

The statement also noted that the county’s contract with Konnech specified that only U.S. citizens and permanent residents would have access to its data and said investigators “found that contrary to the contract, the information was stored on servers in the People’s Republic of China”.

On the same day, True the Vote issued a press release which began: “True the Vote is honored to have played a small role in what must have been a large and complex investigation. The organization is deeply grateful to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office for their thorough work and prompt action in this case.

We asked Gascón’s office if they had worked with True the Vote and got this answer: “Our Public Integrity Division (PID) routinely accepts complaints from the public. Often these complaints are made by political opponents of the accused. With that in mind, if a crime is suspected, we have a responsibility to conduct an independent investigation. Greg Phillips’ report to the PID was the first step in a thorough and still ongoing independent investigation that ultimately led to Mr. Yu’s arrest and indictment. We first reported that Mr. Phillips played no role in the investigation. Although we conducted an independent investigation outside of Greg Philips, his report actually led us to launch our investigation.

The office also said it does not plan to make any further arrests.

According to the criminal complaint, which was filed Oct. 13, prosecutors allege that Konnech used China-based third-party contractors to help “build and fix” the company’s internal software and that those contractors had access to personal information about Los Angeles. election officials. Prosecutors argue that this contradicts Konnech’s contract with the county, which specified that only U.S. citizens and permanent residents would have access to county election officials’ data.

They accused him of embezzling public funds from the amount of the five-year contract, or $2.65 million.

“This investigation relates only to the personal identifying information of election workers,” Gascón’s statement said. “In this case, the alleged conduct had no impact on the tabulation of the votes and did not alter the election results.”

So, anyone suggesting that Yu’s arrest proves the 2020 election result was fraudulent is wrong. What he is actually accused of has nothing to do with tampering with ballots.

Editor’s Note: FactCheck.org is one of many organizationswork with facebookto debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here. Facebook has no control over our editorial content.

Sources

FactCheck.org. “Viral Voting Misinformation.” Updated December 21, 2020.

Board of Supervisors, Los Angeles County. REQUEST FOR APPROVAL OF SOLE-SOURCE CONTRACT #20-003 WITH KONNECH, INC. FOR THE RETURNING OFFICER. October 13, 2020.

The People of the State of California v Eugene Yu. No. BA509784. Complaint. Superior Court of the State of California For the County of Los Angeles. October 13, 2022.

Farley, Robert. “Evidence Gaps in ‘2000 Mules.'” FactCheck.org. Updated June 13, 2022.

Broadcast network on the right side. “REPLAY: from ‘The Pit’, a vital strategy session presented by True The Vote 8/13/22.” To scold. August 8, 2022.

Elijah Streams. “(RUMBLE ONLY) Prophets and Patriots – Episode 20 featuring Gregg Phillips and Steve Shultz.” To scold. August 23, 2022.

Konnech v. True the Vote. No. 4:22-cv-03096. United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. Complaint. September 12, 2022.

State of Michigan v. Yu. No. 2022-2201561-EX. Michigan 55th District Court. October 4, 2022.

Los Angeles County Attorney’s Office. Press release. “October 4, 2022: Head of election worker management company arrested in connection with personal data theft. » October 4, 2022.

True the vote. Press release. “True the Vote Issues Statement Regarding the Arrest of Konnech CEO Eugene Yu.” October 4, 2022.

Konnech v. True the Vote. No. 4:22-cv-03096. United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. Defendants’ motion to stay the case. October 12, 2022.

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